Court Allows ICE Police Impersonation Case to Proceed As Class Action

US Immigration via

By Paloma Sifuentes and Leslie Acevedo

LOS ANGELES, CA – Class certification has now been granted for a federal lawsuit challenging U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) impersonating police officers, among other abusive tactics, when conducting warrantless arrests of community members at their homes, according to the ACLU SoCal.

Lizbeth Abel, deportation defense director of the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ICIJ), a plaintiff in the case, said the case is “monumental for the millions of undocumented people who consider the U.S. their home.” 

Abel added community members should be able to feel safe in their home as they continue their “fight against ICE’s abusive practice,” noting the order certifies two classes of community members in the Southern California region, those “who have been or are at risk of being subjected to the policies and practices challenged in the lawsuit.” 

Angelica Salas, a plaintiff in the case, and executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights (CHIRLA), adds families subjected to “ICE procedures are unknowingly thrown into a carceral system they lack the legal resources to face.”

Salas added ICE procedures are an invasion of community members’ homes, and need to stop…they are widespread and encouraged by high-ranking officials in the agency, violating constitutional rights.

Stephanie Padilla, staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, added that the court’s decision confirms ICE’s practice impacts the community as a whole, and said she was hopeful for: “Class-wide relief against ICE’s unconstitutional enforcement actions.” 

Attorneys with the ACLU SoCal, Law Firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP and UC Irvine School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic filed this case in April 2020.

An attorney with Munger, Tolles and Olson LLP, Giovanni Saarman Gonzalez, said, “This is a critical step forward in the litigation of this case, for our clients and for all those impacted by ICE’s practices.”

The case is set to begin on Aug. 29, but before June 12 the court will hear motion for the final relief.

A third year student with the UCI Immigrant Rights Clinic explained the case was only possible with the stories by individuals in the community who were “courageous” in coming forward.

About The Author

Paloma Sifuentes is a Senior at California State University, Long Beach majoring in Criminal Justice. She plans on attending law school after she graduates with her bachelors degree in the spring of 2023. She is very passionate about Criminal Law and intends on working as an associates attorney in a law firm after law school.

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